Meet Mumbai’s women firefighters
Ahead of Diwali, we meet the women who make up the ranks of the first gender-integrated fire brigade in Maharashtra, doing justice to a difficult, yet rewarding, career choice
Sunita Baban Patil is checking station ledgers in a crisply pleated navy-blue sari and white cotton blouse. Her flip-flops have too much pink in them to be regulation, but in all fairness the protocol for a maternity uniform for the Mumbai fire brigade isn’t yet set in stone. Thirty-year-old Patil, who is expecting her first child next month, is one of only three women assistant station officers (ASOs) at the force’s headquarters in Byculla. They are in their sixth year on the job—the first women to join the Mumbai fire brigade in the service’s 130-year history.